What Happens to Health Care Now?

February 2017

What Happens to Health Care Now

We’re already hearing from our own members about what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has meant to their families, friends and patients.

One says her brother died too young, at 58, because he could never get health insurance before the ACA due to a pre-existing condition. Another has an oncology patient who says the ACA saved his life because he couldn’t afford his chemo treatments without it. One has a son who was able to get insurance between jobs through Covered California.

I know a 45-year-old single mom with a 19-year-old daughter who have health insurance for the first time thanks to the ACA. She no longer has to worry that she could lose her home or business if either of them get sick.

She had a new worry last time I saw her, about how fast lawmakers have moved to repeal the ACA without any realistic plan to replace it with equivalent coverage and protection.

Knowing I’m a nurse she asked me, “What happens now?"

The answer to that is clear.

We must stand up in force as nurses and health care professionals to advocate for our patients.

That’s what happens now.

Major decisions about the future of American health care will be made in the next few weeks and months. It’s a pressing concern locally and nationally.

What’s missing from that national dialogue is our voices.

Nurses and health care professionals are the most trusted voices in our society. We need to speak for our patients and loved ones. We need to tell our stories to the public and elected officials.

We all know someone with a pre-existing condition who couldn’t get coverage before the ACA; or patients who came in too late for care; maybe those who’ve suffered destitution because of high-priced plans, lifetime caps, huge deductibles and exorbitant medications.

None of us would ever refuse care to a patient in need. But that’s exactly what’s being threatened at the national level.

Twenty million Americans could lose access to care. Tens of thousands could die as a result—by conservative, evidence-based estimates.

We are patient advocates. America needs our voices in the patient care decisions facing our country.

The first step is to gather our stories, experiences and ideas. Then we need to get them heard—by the public and elected officials, locally and nationally.

This is how we won protections against workplace violence in Sacramento. This is how we get to weigh in on the process for protecting or replacing the ACA.

This is not a partisan issue. It’s a moral issue. It’s not about fighting for a particular law or solution. It’s about fighting to make sure that every patient who needs care can receive care.

Please click here to share your stories, experiences and ideas to help us get started.

Together we will fight to help save health care.

Thank you,

Denise Duncan, RN
President, UNAC/UHCP